Published Date: 2003-03-21 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH> BSE update 2003 (03)
Archive Number: 20030321.0701
BSE UPDATE 2003 (03)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
In these updates:
 International BSE cases update, 19 Mar 2003
 12th BSE case in Denmark
 3rd BSE case in Slovenia
 BSE update, Spain
 TSE update, EU
 TSE related scientific opinions, EU
Date: 21 Mar 2003
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> [extracted and edited]
BSE cases update, 19 Mar 2003
Country / 2001 / 2002 / 2003 to date / total since 1987
UK / 1174 / 1131 / 77 / 183 239
Austria / 1 / 0 / 0 / 1
Belgium / 46 / 38 / 4 / 107
Czech Republic / 2 / 2 / 0 / 4
Denmark / 6 / 3 / 1 / 12
Finland / 1 / 0 / 0 / 1
France / 274 / 239 / 46 / 801
Germany / 125 / 106 / 5 / 248
Greece / 1 / 0 / 0 / 1
Ireland / 246 / 333 / 64 / 1239
Israel / 0 / 1 / 0 / 1
Italy / 50 / 36 / 4 / 92
Japan / 3 / 2 / 2 / 7
Liechtenstein / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Luxembourg / 0 / 1 / 0 / 2
Netherlands / 20 / 24 / 5 / 57
Portugal / 110 / 86 / ? / 725
Poland / 0 / 4 / 1 / 5
Slovakia / 5 / 6 / 0 / 11
Slovenia / 1 / 1 / 1 / 3
Spain / 82 / 127 / 39 / 250
Switzerland / 42 / 24 / 2 / 433
[These are not official data. They are derived from the above-mentioned
source, which seems to be updated continually. The data from some countries
may include exceptional imported cases or exclude exported cases which were
found positive in the countries of destination. For these details and for
additional updated information, the reader is referred to the source. - Mod.AS]
Date: 2 Mar 2003
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: ProLog / AFP 1 Mar 2003 [edited]
Denmark reports 12th case of mad cow disease
COPENHAGEN: Denmark has reported its 12th case of mad cow disease after a 5
year old dairy cow was found to be infected with the fatal brain-wasting
illness, veterinary officials said. Veterinary authorities confirmed the
latest case after conducting a series of tests on the cow, which had fallen
ill the past week.
The rest of the 200 cows on the farm in Fyn will be destroyed next week.
The farm also delivered cows to neighboring farms, which means an
additional 33 animals will have to be destroyed.
Fears over mad cow disease -- or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) --
focus on the possible link with new variant Creuztfeldt-Jakob disease
(vCJD) in humans, a similarly fatal brain-wasting disease. Denmark recorded
its first case of BSE in 1992 in an animal imported from Scotland. The next
case was reported in 2000, 6 animals tested positive for the disease in
2001, and 3 in 2002.
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003
Source: Office International des Epizooties (OIE) alert message, 19 Mar
BSE in Slovenia: third case
(date of previous reported outbreak: July 2002)
Information received on 19 Mar 2003 from Dr Simona Salamon, acting chief
veterinary officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Ljubljana:
The BSE positive cow animal comes from a farm with 13 other bovines. The
cow was killed on the farm and tested on BSE as part of regular monitoring.
Diagnostic tests for BSE (western blot, histopathology, immunohistochemical
examinations, ELISA) were carried out at the National Veterinary Institute
(NVI), Ljubljana and the OIE Reference Laboratory for BSE in Bern, Switzerland.
Control measures taken:
- identification of all bovine animals on the farm where BSE was confirmed.
- killing of all animals determined as cohort.
- official control of the affected farm (bovine animals can leave the farm
only for slaughter, where they have to be tested for BSE. All movements
have to be approved by the official veterinarian; tracing back and
identification of animals and their products if necessary).
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003
From: Pablo Nart<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Base Financiera, Spain, 3 Mar 2003 [translated by Maria Jacobs,
BSE, animal infection - Spain: update
Government sources say that 223 cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy
(BSE) have been detected in Spain, between November 2000, when the zoonosis
first appeared, and the end of last January 2003. More than half of the
positive cases are concentrated in the autonomous communities of Galicia
and Castile-Leon, areas with a large volume of cattle, particularly dairy
cattle. In contrast, there is a low incidence of the disease in the
communities of Extremadura and Andalucia, also with a large concentration
of cattle but mostly destined for beef production. The report also
emphasizes the substantial improvement in the control of passive
surveillance of the disease in these 2 regions, despite the fact that they
reported most of the suspected cases of BSE.
Detected Cases Reported by Autonomous Communities:
Galicia: 68 cases
Castile-Leon: 54 cases
Asturias: 21 cases
Catalonia: 17 cases
Extremadura, Navarra, Balearic Islands: 11 cases
Cantabria: 9 cases
Aragon, Castile-La Mancha: 5 cases
Andalucia: 4 cases
Madrid: 3 cases
La Rioja, Murcia, Pais Vasco, and Valencia report the lowest incidence.
There have been no reports of cases in the Canary Islands.
Government representatives informed that samples were taken from the
subpopulations in the regions where no cases or a low percentage of cases
were reported, in accordance with local and national guidelines. They
explained that the low incidence is probably due to either the focus on
beef production, a small number of animals older than 24 months slaughtered
for consumption, or to the highly improbable risk related to the import of
bovines and meat-and-bone meal during the times of crisis.
On the other hand, the government announced that in 2002, the number of
registered cases reached 127, a 51 per cent increase with respect to the
number of cases registered during the previous year and the two months in
2000. During January 2003, BSE was detected in 16 animals mostly from
Galicia and Castile-Leon, both of which reported 5 cases. Asturias and
Catalonia reported 2 cases, and Madrid one case.
Date: Fri 21 Mar 2003
Source: European Union, Food Safety, Speeches, 18 Mar 2003 [edited]
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs)
(Speaking note of David Byrne, European commissioner for health and
consumer protection, Agriculture Council, 18 Mar 2003, providing an update
on developments regarding BSE and scrapie since the January Council)
1. Prolongation of transitional measures
In January I informed you that the categorisation of countries according to
their BSE status could not yet be finalised and that it would therefore be
necessary to extend the transitional measures. At the beginning of this
month, the Commission submitted a proposal to the Council and Parliament to
extend the transitional measures for a further 2 years, until 1 July 2005.
The 2 year extension will enable the Commission to continue its efforts to
reach an agreement at international level on the determination of BSE
status. At the same time the Commission will seek to have concluded the
scientific assessments of BSE risk, which are still ongoing. The extension
is necessary to maintain the current level of public health protection
within the EU and in respect of third countries.
2. Feed ban
The feed ban is one of the transitional measures. To clarify the legal
situation the Commission is considering introducing the current provisions
into the TSE Regulation, thus ending the transitional character of the feed
ban. At the same time certain technical amendments are being considered,
based on updated scientific opinions and experience from the field. The
Commission continues to follow and support the development of improved
methods to control the feed ban. The intention is to review the feed ban at
a later date when such methods become available, with a view to
re-authorising the use of certain animal proteins under strict conditions.
However, we need to be particularly cautious in considering steps in that
3. BSE numbers
Statistical tables on the results of TSE monitoring in 2002 have been
circulated as usual. More than 10 million tests were carried out on cattle
last year - 20 per more than in 2001. Despite the increased testing, the
total number of cases remained stable and the ratio of positive cases found
in tested animals dropped by 22 per cent. This development is encouraging.
However, we must keep all aspects of our testing regime under continual review.
4. Scrapie numbers
More than 360 000 tests were carried out on sheep and goats last year. In
total, almost 1200 positive cases were detected, and almost 50 per cent of
these were found by active monitoring. This proves the value of active
monitoring in assessing the incidence of scrapie. The intention is to
review the monitoring programme in the light of the results later this year.
5. Specified risk material
A proposal to add ileum, a part of the small intestine, to the list of
specified risk materials of sheep and goats received the technical
agreement of the Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health in
February. Within the same proposal tonsils of cattle of all ages were added
to the list of specified risk material of cattle, and new rules were laid
down for the harvesting of head meat. The proposal has been notified under
the SPS procedure [the World Trade Organisation's Agreement on Sanitary and
Phytosanitary Measures] and is expected to be adopted later this spring,
taking into account comments from other WTO members.
6. Animal by-products regulation
The new Animal By-Products Regulation will become applicable in May. My
services are currently finalising the implementing measures to ensure a
smooth transition to the new legislative framework. Transitional periods
will be necessary in certain cases to enable the industry to adapt to the
new rules. The intention is to put forward a first set of implementing
measures for an opinion to the Standing Committee of the Food Chain and
Animal Health in April.
7. Scientific developments
You will be aware that the operational start of the European Food Safety
Authority is now imminent. This means of course that the Scientific
Steering Committee - which has advised the Commission on TSE related
matters since 1997 - is approaching the end of its mandate. During this
period the Scientific Steering Committee has produced over 200 opinions
relating to TSEs, thus making a major contribution towards achieving the
current level of consumer protection in the Community. No less than 11
opinions were adopted at the most recent meeting in the beginning of March
- including a new opinion on chronic wasting disease in cervids and an
opinion recommending the approval of 2 new rapid tests. You will be aware
that UK scientists recently announced that the future scale of the variant
CJD epidemic in the UK could be lower than originally estimated. I am sure
you will agree that this is encouraging news. However, at the same time I
want to emphasise the importance of continuing our work to ensure a high
level of food safety across Europe.
Date: 16 Mar 2003
Source: EU Press release IP/03/381, 14 Mar 2003 [edited]
Scientific Steering Committee adopts new rapid BSE tests
BRUSSELS: At its plenary of 6-7 Mar 2003, the Scientific Steering Committee
[SSC] adopted 15 opinions and reports, covering a broad range of
multidisciplinary areas such as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
(TSEs), genetically modified (GM) plants, and the harmonisation of risk
In the field of TSEs, the most important opinions relate to chronic wasting
disease, the safety of phosphates derived from bovine bones, the BSE risk
of the bovine autonomic nervous system and the field trial evaluation of
two new rapid BSE postmortem tests. The two new tests [Prionics-Check
Lumineascence Immunoassay (Prionics LIA Test) and InPro's automated
Conformation Dependent Immunoassay (aCDI.Test)], comparable to already
approved tests, should help to create more competition in the field. They
have gone through the full evaluation process, consisting of an initial
laboratory evaluation and a field trial under practical conditions. The SSC
recommends their formal approval in the framework of the TSE Regulation
[The full texts of 9 SSC opinions on multidisciplinary matters relating to
TSE/BSE, discussed during the meeting of 6-7 Mar 2003, can be found at
<http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/ssc/outcome_en.html>. They are:
1. Opinion on Chronic Wasting Disease and tissues that might carry a risk
for human and animal feed chains.
2. Updated opinion and report on the safety of dicalcium phosphate (DCP)
and tricalcium phosphate (TCP) from bovine bones, used as an animal feed
additive or as fertiliser.
3. Updated opinion on the safety with regard to TSE risks of gelatine
derived from ruminant bones or hides.
4. Opinion on the feeding of wild fishmeal to farmed fish and recycling of
fish with regard to the risk of TSE.
5. Opinion on the potential requirement for designation of specified risk
materials in pigs.
6. Opinion on BSE risk of the bovine autonomic nervous system.
7. Opinion on the field trial evaluation of two new rapid BSE postmortem
tests: Results achieved using the LIA Test (Prionics) and the aCDI Test
(InPro) in the field trial.
8. Opinion on the Geographical risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
(GBR) in Singapore.
9. Opinion on the Geographical risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
(GBR) in New Caledonia.
There are no published opinions on the following topics, though they appear
in the SSC meeting's agenda for 6-7 Mar 2003:
1. Quantitative assessment of the risk of tallow, gelatine and dicalcium
phosphate [see comment, ref 20030119.0181];
2. BSE cases born after the reinforced feed ban in the UK (BARBs);
3. BSE-related culling in cattle.
According to Commissioner Byrne's remark (point 7 in his speech, item 5
above), the SSC - which has advised the Commission on TSE related matters
since 1997 - is approaching the end of its mandate. It is thus possible
that no SSC opinion on the important issue of quantitative assessment of
the risk (to bovines) of tallow, gelatine and dicalcium phosphate, will be
forthcoming. - Mod. AS].